Guns and Backpacking – Best Ways to Carry


After uploading this I did another video dedicated to Firearms Vs. Bear Spray. I recommend checking that out as it contains a lot of good info:

In this video I focus primarily on methods of carrying a firearm in the backcountry for protection against humans and bears.

0:30 Purpose of the video
0:35 Youtube’s firearm policy and backpackers
1:05: Not trying to sell you on the Second Amendment
1:56 First method of concealed carry
5:05 Second method of concealed carry
6:25 Bear spray vs firearms
7:53 Bear encounter in Sequoia



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41 comments

  • After uploading this I made another video called "Firearms Vs. Bear Spray" that adds a lot of helpful info, so check that out as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evEscbW2GEk

    0:30 Purpose of the video
    0:35 Youtube's firearm policy and backpackers
    1:05: Not trying to sell you on the Second Amendment
    1:56 First method of concealed carry
    5:05 Second method of concealed carry
    6:25 Bear spray vs firearms
    7:53 Bear encounter in Sequoia

  • very pragmatic views. good vid.

  • What about a drop leg holster? Like the old west ones that put the anchor ate the belt but keeps the holster out of the way?

  • Why not just run a waist pack over your hip belt, at a fraction of the cost, you still get a Tare away bag with a weapons holster and more room in the bag, $95 for your bag, and an extra $25 for god knows what, they saw you coming.

  • I wanna go to the superstition mountains

  • If you're in thick bear county always carry bear spray in your less dominant hand and your other hand ready to grab your firearm. Why not just use a holster over the bags? Quicker draw that way

  • I live in east TN I always carry a firearm and bear spray. That being said I'd be more worried about the crazy people out there, especially some I've ran into on the AT

  • I dont know I think it's crazy not to carry while bowhunting especially with all the craziness that's been going on .

  • I live in CO and like to hike with a long gun and chest rig. As not to freak people out I hike off trail. I usually carry a MK18 or a ScarH. What do you think about hiking with a long gun?

  • I've come to the same result as you and started using a fanny pack for carrying while hiking.

  • According to the CA laws on bear spray you can possess bear spray in canisters larger than 2.5oz if the company registered their product with the state as a pesticide. The major suppliers of bear spray, like counter assault and UDAP, are readily available here in CA in larger than 2.5oz canisters.

    As far as carrying a firearm that is mostly legal too in the back country except for state parks where no firearms are permitted. In a national park you can carry a firearm but there is no target shooting or hunting allowed. BLM land definitely no problem except some areas are restricted from target shooting (BLM wilderness areas). National forests are okay too but country regulations may prevent firearm possession in some instances. I pretty much don't worry about it, I'm in the middle of no where I don't know how they can fault anyone for protecting their life in a life or death situation. You better be ready to justify your use of deadly force though and deal with the red tape.

  • J S

    Thankfully I live in Wyoming where open carrying on a trail doesn't raise suspicion or draw attention as almost half the people I pass on trails are carrying spray and a pistol.

  • Bear Country, save the bear 🐻 spray for Antifa/BLM, a.h.'s 🇺🇸👍✌😷

  • Living in California I think both items are equally important to never leave at home. Nice presentation!!

  • Great video! I was looking for a better way to carry. I was using sling pack but it wears funny with a fully loaded pack.

  • the fanny pack one is my go to

  • When there is a chance, for example, 1 in 10,000,000, you have to remember SOMEONE did have that problem. Yes, it might be rare, then ask yourself, do you want to be that ONE?

  • So what if your using a bino harness? What options are there for carrying a firearm while backpack hunting in the backcountry?

  • Lots of bulk in those. I'm still looking for a dedicated holster carry set up. I think I'll be designing and making my own.

  • Nice video.

    Ruler LCR .357 can be from pocket carried fairly easily. Easy to draw with the concealed hammer and the right pair of shorts and a front pocket holster. Probably not enough gun for brown bears though.

  • Does anyone know if tourists from outside the US allowed to get a gun permit for safety

  • Thank you for doing this.

  • I've been going in the woods since my parents had me tent camping as an infant. I started overnight backpacking at 11 years old. I've had 3 bear confrontations ( 1 grizzly and 2 black bear). The worst one was with a black bear in the Great Smokies when I was 28, in 1980.
    My backpacking buddy and I faced this bear a couple times over a two day period.At one point it had about 20 people trapped in a bear shelter for half an hour. The final confrontation had us pelting it with rocks as it was charging us. It was nerve racking to say the least (I'm not a timid guy, nor was my buddy, but the bear obviously had the upper hand). I managed to hit it in the eye and it ran off. That day was the worst day of backpacking I ever had. We basically jogged with our packs for about an hour, looking over our shoulders the entire time. I don't care what the odds are if you're the one that's the outlier.
    Before that happened I never took a gun in the woods unless I was hunting. Since that, I ALWAYS pack a gun in the woods. With the advent of bear spray, I take that, also, even in the woods near my rural Washington State home. You have to practice deploying them before you have a confrontation, cuz it all happens REALLY FAST!!!
    I highly recommend the book "Bear Attacks; Their Cause and Avoidance" by professor Steven Herrero.

  • Great video. Thanks for pointing me toward that fanny pack company.

  • Open carry or shoulder carry are the 2 best options for back packing.

    I commented before the video was over.

  • As a fellow Tennesseean, this is a really refreshing sensible take!

  • If I lived in the USA I would definitely carry a small light firearm IF I was into hiking in remote areas ,maybe I’ve watched too many serial killer and 411 missing people vids, but no way I’d be out there without s serious self defence weapon..and yes at least 2 big Bowie knives!

  • In Yosemite it is legal to carry firearms however you are not allowed to shoot it. It is considered “illegal”. I will take the arrest charge if it means my life or my friends life.
    Carrying in plane you can fly with one but it cannot be loaded, it must be checked and the ammo must be separate in contain.
    You cannot fly with bear spray but you can purchase on Amazon then ship in your “care package” to the post office in park.

  • The HPG Recon kit bag is an awesome solution. I have been running it for years, haven't found a replacement yet.

  • Lightweight, .380? Thoughts?

  • i carry a 10mm kimber custom 2 1911

  • Bear spray left hand, firearm right hand.

  • Looking for something like this, thanks a ton

  • Thanks BttO. Great job. Good info.

  • yes!!! a methhead is more dangereous than a grizzly

  • Great vid very informative !

  • Obviously, I haven’t a clue what you do for a living, but your speaking – communication skills are outstanding. I’m retired Navy and retired federal wildlife law enforcement officer. When I retired from my second career, my fellow officers bought me a Glock 43 (my choice, as I am a long distance hiker). I’ve got to tell you, as you well know when backpacking….every ounce counts (especially important to me now, amigo, that I am 66….a self-professed ounce-counting weenie!). I came off the AT in 2018 when a Navy back injury flared up. After two years of physical therapy, I’m ready to reattempt my thru-hike. I’m still on the fence about carrying….but your well-spoken advice is very much appreciated. So thank you…..and again, Bravo-Zulu on an extremely well-presented video!

  • My preferred pistol for bear defense is bigger and heavier than your Glock. I have a Ruger Super Redhawk with a 5.5 inch barrel in .454 Casull. The fanny pack won't cut it, but the Hill People gear might. Will check that out.

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